Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Cheney at Night

The window at the landing, and the WC window, with electric lights on inside

The power was turned on at the Cheney Cottage, and now there are lights on inside the house. Yet another milestone. PG&E came out, and disconnected the power from our temporary power pole (which is being removed from the front yard on Friday - hooray!). Then they ran wires to the power drop that Jeff Williams installed, and installed a meter in the box on the side of the house.

Then one by one, I turned on the circuits - half expecting the fuses to blow, or the house to explode in front of me. But everything worked, and the power began flowing through the miles of romex that we snaked through the walls to the various outlets, switches and lights.
The front porch, after dark

The back porch light and the dining room window

After a somewhat quiet month, spent making plans and trying to figure out exact budgets, we're back on track to getting the Cheney Cottage done and making significant progress on the Delaney House. So Hilary is on 62nd Street this week, digging the trenches for the various services that go underground. We're hoping to get water to the Cheney Cottage, and drain pipe laid to take away the waste water.

The upstairs bathroom, with the lights on

We've also put up some curtains in the front windows, which makes the house seem much more lived in. Every step moves the Cheney Cottage closer to being completed, to joining its new neighbors on 62nd Street.
The Cheney Cottage with curtains. The power pole will disappear on Friday.

I've been re-reading some of the early blog entries, and marveling at our naivete. I guess it's really the only way we could ever actually address projects like this, but did we really think, back in February of 2010, when we were preparing to cut the Cheney Cottage in half, that we would finish both houses by September? Back then, we still thought the City would expedite our permits and we'd be able to move the house directly from the campus to 62nd Street.

I think it's the only way we get through these things. When we bought the house next door ("the Old Magahey place") on Fulton Street, it was infested with rats, and her cats had...well, they'd left their mark. Everywhere. The house needed everything except a roof: new wiring and plumbing, a heating system, every surface refinished, new foundation, new porches, floor joists and beams replaced. Our friends were horrified by this undertaking, and most refused to even walk in the door (the smell was pretty overpowering).

The first day we actually owned the place, we made a video - the "Before" video - and I did my best Jackie Kennedy imitation as we walked through the house ("As we walk down the hall, will you point out the rat droppings?" "Well there's this one, and this one, and this great big one, and this teeny tiny one....") But we never actually sat down and watched it.

When the house was done, we finally watched the video. We couldnt' believe it. What were we thinking?!? The house was such a wreck, and we took this on? And spent our every waking hour in there?!? Suddenly we knew why our kids, our friends and our neighbors all thought we were nuts.

So it goes on 62nd Street. Maybe my vision enables me NOT to see everything that's going on, and Tom has blindness by proxy. But somehow, we keep our enthusiasm and expectations high, and we put our heads down and plow on through. The results ultimately speak for themselves. But we get pretty tired in the process.

More soon.

1 comment:

  1. Blindness by proxy? Jackie Kennedy pointing out rat droppings? WHAT IS HE TALKING ABOUT? Just kidding. I pride myself on deciphering his language. We've discovered over the years that Dmitri and I were raised in the same house in alternate universes. If anybody needs a Dmitrese interpreter, my rates are negotiable. You can pay me in brandy... warm milk?....Ovaltine?? Ah but I've slipped into Dmitrese again! If anybody doesn't understand, feel free to watch this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t_SuywOociY
    So while I do get his references, the one thing I don't understand is "our friends were horrified by this undertaking". REALLY? Impossible!! Who? I want NAMES!!!! Anyway, congrats on the progress. You guys are ever electrifying to me. Like I always say "Those electrifyin' enterprisin', anything by tranquilizin' RIGHT ON, DMITS &TOM" Oh...there I go again.